March 26, 2008

Historic Space Items Sold at Auction

The combination of Snoopy and outer space proved irresistible to one eager bidder, who tendered the winning offer for the most expensive item sold Tuesday at an auction of air and space artifacts.

An online bidder paid $41,825 for a checklist that astronauts used aboard Apollo 10 during rendezvous and mission maneuvers on its lunar module, nicknamed Snoopy, said Kelley Norwine, a spokeswoman with Heritage Auction Galleries. The checklist also contains an original signed sketch of Snoopy by Charles Schulz, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip.

A first-time bidder from New Hampshire spent nearly $70,000 buying two items: a bracelet containing 11 silver medallions that were in space on different Apollo missions and a ring bearing the family crest of the Richthofen family, whose most famous family member was better known as World War I flying ace "The Red Baron."

A pair of needle nose pliers used on the Apollo 16 lunar module sold for more than $33,000, while the patches from Buzz Aldrin's Gemini 12 spacesuit were sold for nearly $30,000.

The item with the most expensive minimum required bid went unsold. No one offered to pay the minimum price of $161,325 for a foot-long aluminum scoop used by astronauts Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell to pick up moon dust on the 1971 Apollo 14 mission.

"We're so excited about the auction and the fact that these space items seem to have really taken off," Norwine said.